By DAPO OLAWUNI
Even as the Federal Ministry of Transportation has has approved N10billion for transport operators and workers, freight forwarders have said the government does not need to replicate such moves in the freight forwarding sector due to lack of data base by the Council for the Regulation of Freight Forwarding in Nigeria (CRFFN)
Otunba Frank Ogunojemite, National President of African Association of Professional Freight Forwarders and Logistics (APFFLON) stated this in Lagos on Wednesday during an exclusive interview with DAILY TREND NEWS.
Ogunojemite knocks the CRFFN for failing to establish a good relationship with freight forwarders and among freight forwarding associations, hence the collection of the Practisioners Operations Fee (POF) is dead on arrival.
He reasoned that, should the government release any palliative to the sector today, there is no way the money can be disbursed.
He however said the only means of giving any palliative to freight forwarders is through Corporative and Life Insurance scheme which he said APFFLON has already put in place.
“I am not in support of releasing any money to freight forwarders even if they release to other sectors, the reason is that there is no data base, and there is no means of disbursement to help freight forwarders who might need help”
“APFFLON has commenced a process of Corporative and Insurance Scheme for its members, if other associations has chosen to do that, then we would have a means of helping members, because as I am speaking to you now there is nothing like this among the freight forwarders”
“Looking at group life insurance, how many association can boast they are doing it if not APFFLON? So, the welfare of our members is paramount to us”
“So, to me, I am not supporting any money being given to freight forwarders for now, however if there is any other way that government can organise a capacity building for us, then i would appreciate that” he said
Otunba Ogunojemite advised the CRFFN to form a robust engagement with stakeholders in the industry before decisions are taken, adding that at the moment, Nigerian freight forwarders, including the associations have lost trust in the CRFFN.
“We have seen compliance teams springing up from the various associations, most of the associations that brought out the compliance teams have the highest numbers of representatives in the CRFFN, looking at this, you can see that they have equally lost hope in the council”
“The Council is good, but its present leadership’s way of operation is nothing to write home about.
So, if any palliative is coming through them, how would they be able to take care of freight forwarders?”
“The last time I spoke with the Registrar, he said he is not obliged to speak to any association or anybody, so do you become a shepherd without sheep?
There must be a robust engagement and relationship among freight forwarders and CRFFN is supposed to engender that, but how are they doing that today?”
“This is why we are not supporting POF because, the collection is not the issue, but how would they utilise the money when there is no relationship between them and any association whatsoever or the stakeholders in the industry”
“I want to believe the POF is dead on arrival, it would not come to reality until there is proper engagement with stakeholders and the people that brought about the idea of forming CRFFN, people like Dr. Aniebonam, Prince Shittu, somebody like Tony Iju who has once been the Chairman of CRFFN”
“There must be a relationship, you cannot run a government without a democratic approach, authoritarian leadership cannot lead anywhere.
Good leadership is very necessary if they want progress in this industry” he said